John Frusciante, Jack White, Emily Wolfe and Peter Frampton pay tribute to Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews on his 80th birthday

Mike Matthews birthday letter
(Image credit: Electro-Harmonix)

A legion of the guitar world’s biggest stars have penned touching letters of tribute to Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews, who celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday (December 6).

Included in the list of individuals who sent letters to Matthews – who founded the ground-breaking pedal company back in 1968 – were John Frusciante, Jack White and Emily Wolfe, as well as Noel Gallagher, Vernon Reid and Adrian Belew.

Electric guitar icon Peter Frampton also sent Matthews a letter wishing the pedal pioneer a happy birthday, as did Bill Kelliher, Guthrie Govan, Yvette Young, John McLaughlin and more.

In his own letter, Frusciante reflected upon the time he met Matthews at NAMM, writing, “Dear Mike, you’ve been making my favorite effects as long as I’ve been playing guitar.

“I don’t know if you remember, but when I was 14 I was an Adrian Belew fanatic and I hung out with you at NAMM, and we talked for quite a while,” he continued. “You answered questions I had about Adrian and your effects, and you made a very big impression on me.

“I would always speak of you with the utmost reverence. I never stopped using your stuff. Thanks for being you!”

King Crimson guitarist and EHX champion Belew was equally praising in his letter, saying, “Your accomplishments are so very meaningful and legendary. I would never have become the musician I am without you. You truly changed my life.”

“Thank you for making music what it is today,” wrote Emily Wolfe. “The Big Muff is such a go-to sound for me, along with so many artists. We truly owe you the world for changing music as we know it and giving us artists a way to create the sounds we hear in our head.”

In his own letter, Kelliher revealed his three favorite Electro-Harmonix pedals – “the Ravish Sitar, Pitch Fork and, of course, the Holy Grail” – while Gallagher joked, “Thanks for making our shit sound better than it actually is!”

Matthews, founder and CEO of Electro-Harmonix, is the brains behind some of the most iconic effects pedals in music history, including old-school classics such as the Memory Man delay and Big Muff Pi – favored by David Gilmour, Billy Corgan, Carlos Santana and J Mascis.

Other modern day EHX favorites include the John Mayer-favored Q-Tron+, which was recently joined in the brand's envelope filter range by the downsized Q-Tron Nano.

To browse the entire collection of letters, head on down to Electro-Harmonix.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.